Penang National Park, believed to be the smallest national park in the world, is home to a rich natural heritage comprising more than 1,000 species of flora and 271 species of wildlife. Gazetted on 10th April 2003, the park was formerly known as Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve.

The park, spanning 2,522.1 hectares of land and sea, was set up to preserve and protect the flora and fauna as well as the geological, archeological, historical and ethnological interests in the area. The park also conserves the diverse terrestrial habitats in the area including the rare meromictic lake, mangroves, mudflats and a vast hill dipterocarp forest. There are also a number of sandy beaches within the park which are important nesting spots for marine turtles.

A total of 36 mammals, 44 reptiles and diverse species of insects and amphibians inhabit the park. Among them are slow loris, flying lemur, civet cats, sea otters, pangolins, dolphins, monkeys and a few species of turtles. Bird enthusiasts will have a field day watching the antics of the fascinating white-bellied sea-eagle, stork-billed kingfishers, egrets and other species of birds.

The plant species here are dominated by the Dipterocarpaceae, Leguminoceae, Aponyceae, Euphorbiaceae and Moraceae famillies. Among the trees and plants that populate the park are Chengal, Meranti, Seraya, Jelutong, Gaharu, Tongkat Ali, five species of Bintangor, palms, pitcher plants, meromictic flora, climbers, fungi and mangrove.

The Penang National Park is also known as the ‘Bay of Glowing Amber’ due to its scenic and spectacular view of the sunset. Its many attractions include a unique seasonal meromictic lake that contains permanently stratified fresh water and seawater layers. Its total area is estimated to be approximately 2.77 square km.

The sandy stretch of Pantai Kerachut and Pantai Kampi at the park are also favourite nesting places of the Green and Oliver Ridley turtles. The Irrawaddy and Bottlenose dolphins can sometimes be seen swimming along the coastline too.

Built in 1883 and standing 227 metres above sea level, the historic Muka Head Lighthouse is located within the park and is still operational. The lighthouse can be reached by following a steep jungle trail that offers a beautiful view of the Straits of Malacca.

Apart from the recreational and ecotourism activities such as climbing, trekking, swimming and wildlife observation, the park also offers vast opportunities for research and education.

Main Tourist Attractions in the Penang National Park
Meromictic Lake, Pantai Kerachut

Have you ever heard about a lake with two different layers of water? The Penang National Park is proud to have one of only three such lakes existing in Asia.

The meromictic lake is a kind of lake where fresh and salt water creatures co-exist in two different layers. The bottom layer is made up of warm salt water from the sea while the upper layer comprises of cool and fresh water from the rivers and rain.

However, it is not a phenomenon that you can witness daily. It happens only during the May to November monsoon season. During this period, strong winds and powerful waves cause the salty sea water to flood into the lake while simultaneously blocking the outflow of the fresh lake water into the sea. Enjoy it best with a swim and experience the pleasant feeling of both warm salt water and cool fresh water all over your skin.

During low tides and dry seasons, the lake becomes a field of mudflats. An experienced nature guide explained that for those who like to do facials, the mud itself is a natural ingredient to sooth our skin. So, even if you visit the lake during the low tide, you can enjoy a mud spa and examine the natural creatures present there such as the small crabs.

Turtle Hatchery & Conservation Centre, Pantai Kerachut

The turtle hatchery and conservation centre at Penang National Park is a highly recommended visit.

Here, you will have opportunity to see some unique species of turtles such as the Green turtle (Chelonia Mydas) and Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys Olivacea). These are among the world's smallest species of sea turtles, which regularly visit Pantai Kerachut to lay their eggs.

During the guided tour, visitors will know all about the conservation efforts being implemented to prevent turtle extinction. It is interesting to know that more male turtles are needed in the turtle ecosystem to improve reproduction capacity of female turtles. Towards this end, efforts are made to control the temperature of the nesting site to ensure a cool environment and low temperatures (believed to encourage more male hatchlings).

Visitors can also take part in the turtle release sessions, though these have to be arranged well in advance. It is a fun experience and you will also realise that time of release also plays a crucial role towards the survival of these baby turtles. Their best best for survival is for them to be released into the sea at night when fewer predators can spot them.

Pantai Kerachut

You will be impressed by the beaches of Pantai Kerachut. Its white sands shimmer blindingly in the day time. Unlike other beaches, the sand here is of a fine quality grain that is not at all sticky and is easily removed from the skin. Perfect for lying on to catch the perfect tan, or to build a sandcastle. Photography enthusiasts are advised to bring along extra memory sticks for there are plenty of camera-worthy scenes to capture here.

Getting Here

The Penang National Park is located near Teluk Bahang at the Northeast corner of Penang Island and fronts the Straits of Malacca. It is about 30 km (45 minutes ride) from George Town, which is located approximately 400 km north of Kuala Lumpur. From KOMTAR, George Town, take the Rapid Penang bus no. 101 and 103 and disembark at the final stop near the park’s entrance.

The Penang National Park is open daily from 8.00 am until 5.00 pm. For the time being, the entrance to the park is free but visitors must register at the Park Information and Registration Counter to get their entry pass or permit.

Those interested in camping must book in advance with the park management.

Who To Contact

Penang National Park,
Jalan Hassan Abas,
11050 Teluk Bahang,

+604-881 3500

+604-881 2016

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